Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ; Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images
Jenna Bush Hager is remembering Colin Powell as a trailblazer who made history, a key player in the Bush family's political dynasty and as a kind man who taught her a lesson over a game of Monopoly when she was a kid.
"He did so much as a politician, but I knew him as a person," Hager, 39, said on the Today broadcast Monday, after the Powell family announced he died of complications from COVID-19. "I knew his wife, Alma, who I adored and adore. And I was thinking about him as a husband and a father, but I remembered him as a man."
Hager then told a story about Powell, who served as the U.S.' top diplomat in the State Department during the administration of her father, former President George W. Bush, and as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the administration of grandfather, President George H. W. Bush.
"We once played a game of Monopoly where my cousin Pierce was a bad sport," she said, referring to Powell and Pierce Bush. "He was like 'No!' because he lost, and Colin Powell said to him, 'Pierce,' in this kind of deep, lovely voice, like, 'We don't have to be a bad sport.' "
Pierce, who made an unsuccessful run for office in Texas last year, is the grandson of the first President Bush.
"My cousin Pierce texted this morning," Hager continued, relaying his message to the Today audience, "'I'll never forget him teaching me sportsmanship, and I think he forgave me for my bad behavior.'"
Powell, a four-star general, also served under President Ronald Reagan as National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989 before transitioning to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — making him the first Black person to hold the position — during Bush's term. Powell served Hager's father as Secretary of State from 2001 until 2005.
"He was just such a wonderful, wonderful man, and he represents so much for our country," Hager said. "I just admired him and loved him."